Landscapes: the Journal of the International Centre for Landscape and Language

Article Title

Poetry of Roe 8


Poetry of Roe 8

The occasion for the writing of these poems was activism surrounding the controversial highway known as the Roe 8 extension in the areas of Cockburn and Fremantle in Western Australia. Planned in the 1950s, Roe 8 is contentious for a number of reasons, including extraordinary political deals over funding, undue process regarding environmental reporting, lack of a business case, inadequate noise and traffic modelling, erasure of Indigenous heritage sites, and clearing of the sensitive Beeliar wetlands and Coolbellup banksia woodlands which were designated a Threatened Ecological Community in 2016. During the summer of 2016/2017 contractors started to fence off and then bulldoze a footprint for the highway extension, resulting in in one of the largest protests ever seen in the state. Over the next 3 months alongside constant protest 40 hectares of bush was cleared and deposited back on the site in 3 metre-high piles which were left to rot as the windy summer topsoil blew across the suburb and into our houses. The project stopped the night before the Western Australian state election of March 11, 2017. One of the promises of the Opposition was to stop Roe 8, and their election was partly attributed to the high degree of animosity and grief engendered by Roe 8.

Author Biography

Nandi Chinna is a research consultant poet and activist based in Perth, Western Australia. Her poetry publications include: Swamp; walking the wetlands of the Swan Coastal Plain (Fremantle Press, 2014); Alluvium, (with illustrator Andrea Smith, Lethologica Press, 2012); How to Measure Land, (Picaro Press, Byron Bay Writers Festival Poetry Prize winner, 2010); and Our Only Guide is Our Homesickness (Five Islands Press, 2007). Her latest poetry collection The Future Keepers, is forthcoming from Fremantle Press in 2019.


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